Sometimes you draw the shortest straw. While that didn't really happen, nobody volunteered to tackle this matchup as a representative advocating for Detlef Schrempf. Largely for good reason.
Sonics vs. Thunder
Sonics vs. Thunder
In 1996 Det was in his 11th season at age 33, and by most measures he was still producing at a very solid level. 35 minutes per game, 17.1 points per game, 5.2 rebounds. Not too shabby! But not enough to top 2012's Kevin Durant.
There were a few areas where Detlef did surpass Durant, though. Det finished 1996 averaging 4.4 assists a game - which is nearly one per game more than Durant (3.5) in 2012. Schrempf also was a better offensive rebounder than Durant. Some of this could be attributed to where Durant spends much of his time on the floor, but Det should get some credit here as he was willing to use his size on the offensive glass to add possessions for his team. Det finished the year averaging 1.2 offensive boards a game to Durant's 0.6. But where this stands out is when you dig into some of the advanced stats: that 1.2 ORB was 4.1% of the available offensive rebounds that season while he was on the floor, whereas Durant's translates to a paltry 1.9% for the Thunder. I know, mind bottling.
There were two other areas where Schrempf had the better season than Durant. The first would be that Detlef did not frequently turn the ball over: a full 1.1 fewer TOs per game than Durant. Pair that with Schrempf's advantage in assists, and you can see he was a good passer generally. The other category where Schrempf simply dominates Durant is in personal fouls. Det knew how to lay some wood to a guy: 2.8 times per game on average. And he was getting his money's worth. While Detlef wasn't an enforcer, he was pretty good at smacking a guy when beaten on a play. Durant's fouls were generally less frequent and less intense, with a fair number of reach-in fouls as a help defender. Det's fouls also came against some bigger players than Durant as a result of some of the defensive schemes the Sonics ran, and in general how and where Det played on the floor compared to Durant. While numerically he only holds a slight edge over Durant in fouls per game (2.0), the quality of those fouls reigned supreme for Schrempf.
And that's the best argument I have. Edge? Durant.